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Entry level VMware setup using VMotion

Posted on 2009-04-02
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Hi Im quoting for a basic VMWare setup using VMotion for failover of virtual servers. Im want to use HP kit (probably dl380 servers) but Im not sure of what I need for the shared array. Can anyone who has installed a basic setup like this let me know exactly what I need in terms of hardware and software. Im looking for the bare minimum to get it running.

 

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Question by:plug1
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markzz earned 250 total points
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1. central san solution. I'd look at the small Netapp arrays with the understanding you will use iSCSI for connectivity. (or NFS )
2. Cisco or HP switches for the storage network, you could start with 1 HP1800 24G, they are quite cheap but they can't route so if you want to route data etiher buy a router or buy the HP 2800 switch as it has routing capability. (I suggest HP as they are very easy to configure via a WEB interface, Cisco have more features but are CLI driven)
3. DL385g5 (or g2) avoid the DL380, Intel are only just now sorting out their CPU's. AMD is still my prefference. Add a 2nd duel NIC to each server, 2x 72 GB disks for ESX to boot off. 2x CPU, 8GB RAM.
4. ESX Foundation (it comes with a VC Connector and VCB licenses, 2 CPU sockets, 8GB ram)
5. Virtual Centre server.
This is about the minimum you need to build an expandable and supportable solution.
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by:plug1
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Would the HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array 2000 do for the SAN soloution? also do I need to connect with I-SCSI or NFS, can you not use normal SCSI cables for this? Does ESX foundation include Vmotion or is that Virtual Centre Server?
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by:paulsolov
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The MSA2000 works well.  I'm not sure if it supports NFS but iSCSI or Fibre Channel will work. If it supports NFS than you can use it as well.

Virtual Center Foundation will support HA, DRS, VMotion without any problems. I think the only piece it doesn't do is Storage Vmotion which is vmotion between the LUNs.  It also support up to 3 hosts.

Hope this helps
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by:plug1
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How straight forward is it to install Virtual centre foundation then, Ive virtulised servers before using vmware and microsoft virtual centre but not ESXi yet and never v-motion.
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by:paulsolov
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Virtual Center is easy to setup.  You will need a SQL instance and you can either use SQL 2005 Express on the Virtual Center Server or if you have a SQL server available you may install the SQL database on a dedicated box hosting SQL Server.  

Configuring ESX/ESXi for Virtual Center is the same, make sure that you have DNS entries for the ESX hosts and they're registered as A record in DNS since it uses the information in Virtual Center.  Also make sure you have NTP setup on the ESX hosts so that your time is confiugred correctly

Normally Virtual Center takes under an hour to setup (you can do this in a VM or a physical box)
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by:plug1
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Excellent info so far. Does anyone else want to give me examples of the hardware required?
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by:paulsolov
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The DL380 is a good model for vmware, you may want to wait until the DL308 G6 come out if they have't already.  The servers can support more memory and they're DDR3.  To save some cash you may want to look at the DL360 G6, they are smaller but for vmware they're perfect, and the G6 can support up to 144GB RAM.  On the backend you may want to look at the NetApp product line because it offers SnapManager for VI which allows you to take snapshots of your VMs and do restores easily.  
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by:plug1
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Whats the chepest viable netapp that I could use then? They look good on the site.
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by:markzz
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I agree with the Netapp, but remember the exisiting issues with Snapmirror. The new version of Snap mirror will incorporate an interface which will alow you to restore migrated snapshots. I guess as you will only have one Netapp the Snapmirror limitations don't apply..
Hardware wise.
I would avoid the new g6 until it's had some time in the market, I've been a new adopter of hardware (even HP) and can atest to some niggly issues which you can't afford with virtual servers. You mentioned you are after a cost effective solution, therefore as I mentioned above.
 DL385g5, possibly look for some HP refurbished DL385g2's they are 32GB RAM capable, will take 8 SAS or SATA disks, have a P400 controller
I personally would be looking for DL385g2, 8GB RAM, 2 CPU Sockets giving you 4 cores, 2x 72GB SAS single port HDD, an additional NIC NC360T. 2nd Power supply, if you have the cash buy the 512 +Battery backup module for the P400 raid Controller.
Why 8GB Ram, this is the max ram ESX foundation supports.
Why the older model of Gen2 rather than the current Gen5, you'll pick the Generation2 servers up Very cheap.
Why the additional NIC, ESx foundation does not support fiber chanel HBA's. Local, NFS and iSCSI storage only.
Why the DL385 and not the DL380. AMD CPU ESX compatibility across CPU generations is better than Intel. Also the AMD architecture until a month ago was far superior than Intel. Intel have now introduced a similar architacture but they are VERY expensive and not available in HP servers yet.
Why the DL385 rather than the DL360, last time I priced them the DL385 was cheaper than the DL360 (I had to add options like redundant fans, PSU etc to the DL360 to ensure redundancy, by the time I'd added all the bits it was just a little more expensive. The DL360 is a 1RU server, so you are very space and card limited if you need to expand with further NICs etc in the future.
 
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by:plug1
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Thanks for the help on this people.
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